In 1710 Sambourne was a very small hamlet on the fringe of the Throckmorton Estate, the nearest town being Alcester. It was a poor place and much of the land between Alcester Heath and Wike Lane was thin-soiled, poor semi-heathland where some villagers enjoyed common rights of grazing and collecting firewood – it had not yet been enclosed into fields. Life was hard and people died young. They had to help themselves, and each other.

Through the generosity of benefactors – a gift of £20 in 1710 provided annual interest “to set up poor Children of Sambourne as Apprentices.” 40 shillings (£2) the interest from which was to be given on Good Friday to “seven poor Widows” and others, including £100 (over 2 years wages) from a Mrs Ann Gauton.

Eventually the trustees who looked after the money bought ‘an Estate in Sambourne, the interest to be distributed at the discretion of the trustees...’, where there were a number of small cottages in which ‘poor people’ could be offered secure accommodation.

Over the next 230 years or so, through good and bad times, the Trustees ran the Trust, made charitable donations to those ‘in need’, and provided affordable housing for their tenants and kept the houses they owned in good repair. By shrewd investment and using available sources of finance the trustees were able to build two more cottages in Victorian times and four new bungalows in the 1980’s; they now administer ten properties which are let to people with connections to the village. The increase in the Trust’s income has allowed it to provide a greater level of support to the community.

With the agreement of the Charity Commission the trustees officially changed the name of the charity from the ‘Sambourne Almshouse and Relief in Need Charity’ to the more manageable ‘Sambourne Trust’ but its objectives remain essentially unchanged – to provide affordable housing and other assistance for those ‘in need’.

So what does it do.....?

The Trust’s emphasis remains to seek out and help people who have ‘needs’ - though having ‘needs’ does not mean you necessarily have to be ‘poor’ to qualify and the trust also supports bodies and groups who provide for other ‘needs’ in the community on a voluntary of charitable basis.

For example, it can give help to people who are disabled or needing mobility aids; provides a weekly bus to Redditch; buying laptops for scholars; tools for apprentices; books for university students; helping with specialist educational courses; help to the elderly; These are typical of areas where ‘needs’ exist and can be supported.

Occasionally there are individual cases where people suffer misfortunes, bereavement, or domestic violence, for example, and these require great tact and discretion; they are not common, but the trustees can and will help entirely confidentially. However not everyone who has ‘needs’ knows about the Trust and, as importantly, the Trustees don’t always know all the people who might benefit from assistance. So the Trustees welcome approaches or information and invite contact by email (details on the website), personally to a trustee, or by letter. We can’t guarantee to help, but we do guarantee to listen.

The one caveat is that all Charities have legal restrictions on what they are allowed to do, because they have to respect the wishes and intentions of the people who originally set them up - and the Sambourne Trust is no exception.

Who are the Trustees?

Just ordinary people who live in Sambourne and are prepared to give time and expertise to run the Trust. That includes management of the Trust’s 10 houses (done at no cost), dealing with tenants, lettings, maintenance, repairs, modernisation of the properties, – and of course looking after distribution of grants to beneficiaries.

The names are on the Trust website. They have a variety of skills and qualifications in law and property........ and an abundance of common sense.

Who can the Trust help?

In summary the Charity Commission states it exists to:

• Give general or individual ‘relief’ to residents of Sambourne who are ‘in conditions of need’

• Support general charitable purposes

• Help with Education and Training

• Advance Health and the Saving of Lives

• Aid those with Disability

• Address the Prevention or Relief of Poverty

• Provide and Maintain Accommodation for those in Need

Those who principally qualify are:

• Children and Young People

• Elderly/Old People

• People with Disabilities.

The Trust makes Grants to Individuals and also to Organisations with charitable or community objectives in the Parish of Sambourne.

At the trustees’ discretion it may also make such grants, when there are available funds, to similar classes of persons in adjoining parishes, or to Charitable bodies performing functions which can benefit persons resident in Sambourne or its adjacent parishes.

The Trust can’t commit itself to making grants on a continuing annual or periodic basis. It is not permitted to provide financial support to the Parish Council, laudable as that might otherwise be, because the Charity Commission prohibits it.

The Trustees are unable to do anything that is not permitted by the Trust’s scheme, and this may apply to some of the things that people in Sambourne might like the Trust to do; however the Trustees are always ready to listen to anyone who may need assistance.

Plaque from St Peters Church Coughton

This plaque is hung in
St Peter's Church, Coughton

[click for larger view]